Rather than generate enthusiasm and buzz, the adoption of a new constitution in Georgia seems to have exposed a vast reserve of popular political apathy.
The constitution, which would allow the head of parliament’s majority party to be named as prime minister, secured parliamentary approval on October 15 by a wide margin – 112 to 5. The post of prime minister would carry primary responsibility for daily government affairs. The new constitution will go into effect in 2013.
Despite changes that could possibly pave the way for President Mikheil Saakashvili to remain in power as premier after his presidential term expires in 2013, Georgian opposition parties remained silent during the year-long process to approve the new basic law. The handful of opposition parties represented in parliament took part in the September debates about the constitution, but, vastly outnumbered by Saakashvili’s United National Movement in the legislature, they lacked the clout to block the vote.
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Molly Corso is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.